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Red Deer Public staff continued to connect with students over summer

CLW Program

Summer is not always a break that all children look forward to. Sometimes a break in routine can cause some students to have a tougher transition when it comes time to go back to school.

That’s why Red Deer Public has a Community Liaison Program that not only operates during the school year, but throughout the summer months as well, ensuring students continue to feel connected to staff and their school.

This year, through various activities, more than 400 students were served through the program.

“Academics are extremely important, but so are relationships, and that is what we continued over the summer with some of our students,” said Nicole Goodwin, Community Liaison Worker for Red Deer Public. “The summer months were about reducing barriers by giving kids experiences and continuing to build relationships and connections so that when they went to school they didn’t feel disconnected after being away for a couple of months.”

This summer's activities varied from picking strawberries at a local u-pick farm and making homemade jam, to visits to area zoos, corn maze trips, barbeques in city parks, wandering Wednesdays and more.

“Our goal with any activity or experience that we offered was to ensure there was a long lasting effect and one that carries into the students’ home life as well,” said Lacey. “Parents could also take part in the activities, and it was an opportunity for families to connect together and amongst each other.”

Nicole added activities were hosted at various locations around Red Deer, so students from the whole Division were able to interact with one another. For example, Cooking with Cristy took place at Glendale Science and Technology School and gave students the skills and confidence to learn how to cook, socialize and adhere to safety in the kitchen. After the weekly classes, students were able to take the food they prepared home to their families.

“It’s about providing belongingness to kids, and offering them independence, mastery and generosity and giving back to their families or community. It’s about exposing them to new interests and talents,” said Lacey Barrett, CLW with Red Deer Public.

Lacey also provided yoga in the park for more than 100 students and families from schools across Red Deer. “It was great to see students of all ages and their families participate in yoga in the park,” said Lacey.

Art in the park was also an activity that was popular throughout the summer and brought students and their families from various neighbourhoods and schools in Red Deer together for a fun activity.

“Our goal with every activity was to eliminate barriers so kids can have a variety of experiences,” said Nicole. “Each activity was developed purposefully and intentionally to allow kids to be exposed to different locations in the city, as well as different activities. It was about meeting the needs of kids and families, and ensuring they continue to feel connected to their schools throughout the summer.”

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